Thursday, 4 November 2004

Defeat, Dissent And The Bush Machine

Well, that's it. The great American electoral agony is over at last. Now George W. Bush - the duly elected, finally legitimate president of the United States - can get back to doing what he does best: killing people for corporate profit and personal aggrandizement.

Yes, it's a hard blow for the world. Yes, it's a deep shame for American democracy, poisoned by lies, fear, greed and hysteria. Yes, it means that tens of thousands of innocent people will now be killed--by more war, more neglect, more ignorance, more repression, more brutality, more hatred, more fanaticism. Yes, it means that the planet will be gashed with more wounds, smeared with more filth, left to wither and die. Yes, it's a giant step backward for the human spirit, back to the muck of arbitrary rule by vicious elites and their ham-fisted goons, their well-wadded courtiers, their yapping sycophants. Yes, it means that somewhere out there, in the blood-dimmed haze of a dark age falling, Lucifer and bin Laden are lighting cigars and raising a glass to toast the victory of their good friend George.

These are the facts, and they can't be altered. But how to respond to this catastrophe? Shall we weep, moan, rend our garments, cover ourselves with sackcloth and ashes? Shall we sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of republics? Shall we cower in the shadows and sing glamorous dirges for the Lost Cause, for vanished glories and broken dreams?

Or shall we come out fighting, unbowed, heads high, laughing fools to scorn, rejecting at every turn the moral authority of murderers and thieves to rule our lives, determine our reality, act in our name? Let's dispense with lamentation--give not a single moment to that emotional indulgence--and get right back to work, more determined than ever to bear down harder, dig deeper and excavate the radioactive nuggets of truth still glowing beneath the slag-heap of ruin that Bush and his terrorist partners have made of the world.

Let's fight, let's reject, let's resist--without violence, the weapon of the stupid, the hormonal secretion of evolutionary backsliders in thrall to the chemical soup in their heads, dull primitives dressing up their ape-lust for power with scraps of religion, philosophy and cant. Let's fight these pathetic, malfunctioning wretches who lay their hands on our world and rape it like beasts in mindless rut. Fight them with the truths we find, exposing their crimes and deadly hypocrisies to the people they've suckered, perverted and betrayed.

This is not an insurmountable task, no matter how impervious the Bush Machine--that monstrous conglomeration of judicial bagmen, Congressional rubber-stamps, hard-right media moguls, dopehead radio ranters, sex-crazed theocrats, neo-conservatives, neo-Confederates, war profiteers, think-tank bleaters, Wall Street sharks, oilmen, Moonies, gun nuts and woman-haters--might appear at the moment. Let's look at the facts. Despite four years of the most relentless barrage of propaganda, deceit, misinformation and fearmongering ever hurled against a free society, more than 54 million people voted to reject Bush and all his works: his Hitlerite policy of aggressive war; his gulag system of torture and lawless detention; his savage assault on civil rights, the environment, working people and the poor; his systematic destruction of social programs; his transfer of sovereignty from individuals and communities to the iron grip of his corporate donors; his trashing of hard-won international agreements on nuclear weapons, conventional arms, war crimes, global warming, the rights of women and the protection of children; his unleashing of rabid religious zealots into the bowels of government to set policies on science, health, education, welfare, while sucking up billions in public money to fund their sectarian causes.

Such mass dissent--even in "wartime," in the face of the Machine--is surely cause for hope. Moreover, recent academic studies show that a large majority of Bush supporters actually disagree with him on everything from the Kyoto treaty to missile defense to international law to workers' rights--but somehow believe that he shares their views. Most Bush-backers also still believe that Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda colluded in the September 11 attacks and that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction--yet this same majority says that the conquest of Iraq would be illegitimate if there were no WMD and no 9/11 connection. Thus more than half of the Bush voters on Tuesday oppose his actual policies, including the criminal war in Iraq--they just don't know it yet, because they're mired in carefully-cultivated delusion.

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